- Published: June 1, 2018
Legal Policy Situation
The presidential election in October was the most important domestic political event in Kyrgyzstan in the year under review. Despite some criticism from international election observers, the electoral process was competitive in character including, contrary to previous concerns, a peaceful transfer of power living up to democratic standards. The social democrat and former head of government Sooronbay Jeenbekov won the presidential election.
As a parliamentary republic, Kyrgyzstan continues to stand out in contrast to its neighbouring countries of autocratic character in Central Asia. The political situation, however, is by no means stable. Many members of the government resigned in the year under review. The economic crisis persists, and the country is still a long way away from an ethnically and religiously balanced society featuring reliable democratic mechanisms. Although the transition to a modern democratic state can be perceived on many levels, it will still take a long time.
Despite the reform efforts, the judicial system continues to suffer from serious shortcomings and is not held in high esteem by the population. Professionalism in the exercise of legal professions needs to be increased; the modern infrastructure of courts and authorities needs to be expanded; consolidating procedures of the rule of law and reducing corruption are stated aims. The IRZ provides international consultation both bilaterally and within the framework of implementing the large-scale EU grant project “Promotion of Rule of Law in the Kyrgyz Republic”, in which the IRZ is involved as a junior partner.
In recent years, the IRZ’s bilateral activities have focused on supporting Kyrgyz lawyers, which have undergone a process of change and self-management since the “Law on the Legal Profession” came into effect three years ago.
A well-established rule of law provides for strong, independent lawyers. They play a crucial role in ensuring access to justice. Advising and representing clients does not only require sound legal expertise but also the sensitive and appreciative handling of people and their concerns, of colleagues, of courts and of institutions involved in litigation. The rapid digital development is increasingly affecting the legal advice market and is also posing new challenges for Kyrgyz lawyers.
Thus, a need arose for advice on the fundamentals of press and public relations work for Kyrgyz lawyers due to the frequent unprofessional handling of Kyrgyz media by the lawyers, both due to uncooperative and ethically questionable statements in social networks, and due to circulating or publishing confidential client information via social networks or the media. At a seminar in Bishkek, German experts shared their expertise on handling modern media professionally by examining numerous practical examples and discussing them with the participants in addition to lectures.
For the first time, a delegation of the Bar of the Kyrgyz Republic had the opportunity to participate in the 3rd International Lawyers Forum on the subject of “Independence of self-regulation – A Lawyer’s issue” as part of a study trip on practical questions of the legal profession in Berlin. This has made an important contribution to strengthening international contacts among Kyrgyz lawyers and, in particular, to exchanging expertise with colleagues from various countries.
A first joint event with the Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic in Bishkek facilitated an exchange between staff of the Kyrgyz Parliament and German experts on the course of legislative procedure, including evaluation and regulatory impact assessment. Under active involvement of the participants, the latter was carried out and analysed based on parts of a Kyrgyz law that had previously been translated into German. During the evaluation, detrimental aspects in the implementation of the regulations were illustrated. It was thus possible to create a trusting atmosphere that enabled Kyrgyz listeners to address matters that were important to them and to seek a lively exchange among colleagues.
Foci of Activity 2017
Administration of Justice
- Study trip by a delegation of the Kyrgyz Bar on practical questions of the legal profession and participation in “Independence of self-regulation – A Lawyers issue”, the 3 rd International Lawyers Forum of the German Federal Bar in Berlin
- Workshop for the Bar of the Kyrgyz Republic on the topic of communication and information policy, press and public relations work and the public image of the Bar including internet and social media usage in Bishkek
- Workshop on legislative procedure and regulatory impact assessment with the Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic in Bishkek
Project financed by the European Union
EU Grant Project: Promotion of Rule of Law in the Kyrgyz Republic
The project with a budget volume of EUR 9.5 million has been implemented by a consortium led by the GIZ since 2014. The IRZ participates as a junior partner with two long-term experts who work in the fields of court organisation, e-justice and legislation. The team of long-term experts is supported by short-term experts from Germany and other European countries in this context.
The aim of the project is to reinforce the rule of law in the justice and the court system. The reform efforts of the Kyrgyz Government and the state institutions, which are supported by the project, are directed towards increasing the effectiveness of judicial administration, creating transparency and credibility within judicial and court structures as well as fighting corruption. The main areas of focus of the IRZ component comprise the modernisation of the operation of the courts, including the introduction of a system of electronic files and court information and court management (e-justice), as well as legislative reforms.
In the last year of the project, activities focused mainly on the implementation of previously developed improvement measures and training courses for legal practitioners, also including a practical orientation. In the year under review, another study trip was organised for ten Kyrgyz legislative experts to Berlin and Potsdam. In total, the IRZ component has provided further training for more than 300 members of the civil service, lawyers and university lecturers in the field of legislative technique during the project’s term thus far.
In the field of judicial administration, extensive expertise was provided for a working group developing an evaluation system for judges. In the summer of the year under review, a draft of the new system, including the legal acts required for its implementation, could be presented as a result. It is currently being reviewed. Furthermore, the project contributed greatly to developing and publishing a handbook for presidents of courts dealing with practical questions of judicial administration, which will also serve as a basis for training measures in the future. On the subject of e-justice, the introduction of an electronic court file management system at three pilot courts deserves a mention. The project team has also successfully advised the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic on drafting a handbook on the legal formality of sub-legislative norms and has begun preparations for the digitisation of the legislative process.
After project completion in April 2018, a second four-and-a-half-year phase with IRZ participation is planned. Here, the above-mentioned and additional focus areas will be professionally enlarged and expanded upon.
The IRZ intends to continue the cooperation with established project partners, to strengthen the awareness of fundamentals of the rule of law in legislative procedure and the application of the law. In order to achieve long-term success in providing advice, there will be a continued focus on practice-oriented training of the respective legal practitioners.
Following the EU project “Promotion of Rule of Law in the Kyrgyz Republic” the focus will continue to be on supporting legal reforms and promoting the rule of law throughout the Kyrgyz judiciary. Within the framework of individual activities, the aim is to strengthen the competences of the central judicial institutions by providing those in charge with practical knowledge, concrete instruments and sound expertise in order to make the legislative process more efficient and to improve the functioning of judicial structures in the long run.